Sector: Education & Training
Due to curriculum change, which placed more emphasis on creative opportunity for pupils , schools were expected to get young people using their imaginations.
This required teachers to learn a range of new skills around creativity, very quickly. Teachers were keen to use creative writing across the curriculum in flexible ways, but had not been taught the necessary skills. There was a confidence gap.
The attainment level in English at level 5 (Key Stage 3) in Newcastle is below the national average and teachers were also keen to find ways to address this.
A group of experts from the University worked closely with English advisers, the regional culture and creativity adviser and a literacy consultant to develop a practice-based course to raise the confidence of teachers in the area of creative writing. The initial cohort of 13 learners came from eight schools in the Newcastle area.
The course introduced two sessions each on drama, poetry and prose, focused on developing the teachers’ own skills in creative writing rather than simply giving them exercises designed to take back to the classroom.
Anna Disley of New Writing North is convinced that an increased level of teacher confidence pays off in the classroom and that this kind of practice-based course not only develops useful skills and techniques but leads to a more creative mindset.
Teachers fed back that, not only were their own skills enhanced, but that children were also more motivated and engaged.
The success of the course is leading to new developments with Professional Development Partnerships being put in to place. These partnerships involve writers being assigned to schools and working alongside teachers who have taken the course in order to support the rolling out of ideas and techniques from the course in the classroom, maintaining those increased confidence levels for teachers and allowing them to enhance the skills, enjoyment and attainment levels of their pupils.
View our PDF brochure Developing skills to promote creative writing in schools (PDF: 735KB) for the full case study.